Illinois' top public health official on Friday asked residents to accept calls from contact tracers as reports of contact tracing scams continue to circulate in Illinois and throughout the United States.
Contact tracers are tasked with calling those who test positive for the coronavirus and all their contacts to encourage them to monitor symptoms and self-quarantine.
Tracers will often send text messages, directing positive patients to contact their local health departments.
At a news conference Friday, Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said that contract tracers will call from the county a person resides in, and they won't ask for money or for your social security number.
"You might think it's a hoax or spam," she said. "It's important you answer this call."
Ezike stated that, as of Friday, Illinois contract tracers are covering approximately 30% of people who've been in contact with coronavirus patients, and that the state hopes to be in contact with 60% of affected individuals.
A contact tracer may also ask coronavirus positive patients about demographics, pre-existing medical conditions and travel history, such as attendance at a large event. Close contacts include those who were within 6 feet of the infected person for at least 15 minutes starting 48 hours prior to symptom onset, according to the Cook County Department of Public Health.